To the Editor:
As a graduate of Martin County West in 2000, I went to school with Kevin Labenz, who is currently a candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives. I have been watching Kevin's race against state Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, closely from my home in the Twin Cities (as I know many of my former classmates are).
I read the Oct. 11 Sentinel article entitled "Labenz takes on Gunther" and was extremely surprised by Mr. Gunther's claim that he wants to "reinvigorate rural Minnesota to inspire young people to stay and make a home here." While attending Winona State University, I met with Mr. Gunther to discuss opportunities for state colleges and universities in rural Minnesota (such as Minnesota West in Jackson) to expand opportunities for young people. Mr. Gunther's lack of support was, to say the least, far from inspiring. Young people were forced to look elsewhere for job opportunities.
Having visited Kevin Labenz's website (www.kevinlabenz.com) prior to reading the article, I was also struck by how blatantly Mr. Gunther has "borrowed" from Kevin's goals and vision. Mr. Gunther has either decided to say whatever is necessary to get re-elected, or perhaps has legitimately decided that Kevin's ideas are better his own. This all reminds me of Mr. Gunther's support for "borrowing" more than $2 billion from our schools and our kids instead of facing the hard decisions to balance the state's budget.
Kevin Labenz is inspiring young people by stepping up and leading by example to work extremely hard to improve southern Minnesota. I urge voters to take an honest look at the candidates and vote for a person who will inspire and improve opportunities so that more young people can afford to remain or to move into southern Minnesota.